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49 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 64 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
14 min read
49 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Imants Kaziļuns / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 49th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

In other news this morning, today is my 46th birthday.  Happy birthday to me!  Thank you for celebrating it with me here. If you want to get me a present, please tell a colleague to subscribe.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 64 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states, and Canada.

Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.


Economic development leaders gave industry and workforce updates at the Cullman Industry Appreciation Night. (Dale Greer , Director, Cullman Economic Development Agency; Kenneth Boswell, Director, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs; Governor Kay Ivey; Ted Clem, Director of Business Development, Alabama Department of Commerce; Ed Castile, Executive Director and Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Alabama Industrial Development Training; Keith Phillips, Executive Director, Alabama Technology Network; Jacqueline Allen, Assistant Director of Communications & External Affairs, AlabamaWorks; Peggy Smith, President, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce)


The Jonesboro City parks department is looking to build natural surface bike trails for economic development. (Lindsey Wingo, Director, Downtown Jonesboro Association; Mark Young, President & CEO, Jonesboro Unlimited)

Arkansas River Rice will be investing in Jefferson County. Buildings that have been purchased will provide office and warehouse space, in addition to the existing rice mill located there. (Allison Thompson, President & CEO, Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County)


A Mission District nonprofit is asking the city for $12 million to build housing for teachers. (Luis Granados, CEO, Mission Economic Development Agency)

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation was selected by Citi Foundation as a recipient of the Community Progress Makers initiative, which supports visionary organizations across the U.S. that are working to connect low-income communities and communities of color to greater social and economic opportunity. As a Community Progress Maker, VSEDC will receive a multi-year, unrestricted grant of $500,000, and access to technical assistance and a supportive learning community from 2022 – 2023. (VSEDC President & CEO, Joseph T. Rouzan, III)


Premier Heather Stefanson’s government is launching a new version of an economic development board three years after her predecessor Brian Pallister had a crack at it. (Dayna Spiring, the CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg)

In his nine years at the helm of Economic Development Regina, John Lee has a lot to be proud of as the organization’s CEO. Now, with his eyes on stepping aside, he took time to look back on his time in the role.


The city of Craig’s economic development department will soon begin assembling its economic development committee. (Shannon Scott)

Longmont, with a strong blend of tech, manufacturing, biosciences and creative services companies, has weathered the COVID-19-induced economic downturn and continued recovery is expected through 2022. But that recovery has and will continue to be uneven and unequal, while it becomes increasingly difficult to afford a home in Longmont. (Jessica Erickson, CEO, Longmont Economic Development Partnership)

When a lack of affordable housing is coupled with an aging population, sustaining a workforce could become even more difficult in Durango. (Laura Lewis Marchino, Executive Director, Region 9 Economic Development District)


Over 70 members of the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce attended an economic development breakfast and seminar at Asnuntuck Community College where local leaders spoke about helping residents recognize the need for growth, supporting businesses through marketing and grants, and how transit-oriented development will return vitality to what were once community hubs. (Edward LaMontagne, Executive Director)

Governor Lamont returned from his economic development mission in Israel.


With the passing of the $27 million of Blueprint funding for Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, some economic development projects may be on hold.

Plans for the economic development of Bay County’s future are in the process. This week the Bay County Chamber of Commerce met with legislators in Tallahassee to discuss the agenda for 2022. Some items included workforce development and affordable housing. (Carol Roberts, President & CEO)

Nassau County Economic Development Board is hosting a Business Retention & Expansion Forum on March 3. (Sherri Mitchell, Executive Director)


An Albany barbershop hosted a discussion with city leaders about ways to improve their city. The leaders in attendance at Klean Kuts Barbershop are experts in fields like economic development, housing authority, and after-school programs for the youth. (Demetrius Love, President, The 100 Black Men Of Greater Southwest GA)

Exciting things are happening in terms of economic development in Milledgeville and Baldwin County. (Jonathan Jackson, Executive Director, The Development Authority of Milledgeville and Baldwin County)


The council’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee will discuss the findings and recommendations of its Tourism Management and Economic Development Temporary Investigative Group —including a proposal to establish caps on all transient accommodations. (Committee Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez)


Johnston looks forward to economic growth from planned developments. (Adam Plagge, Economic Development Manager, City of Johnston)


Leaders of Emporia City and Lyon County believe housing is a “linchpin” to economic development, and he says the county currently has 15 homes available for sale — less than half a month’s supply when six months of supply is considered an acceptable standard. Sauder says this makes it hard for current employers to expand and it makes it easier for companies considering relocation to cross Emporia off their lists. (Chuck Scott, President, Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas; Casey Woods, Executive Director, Emporia Main Street; Rob Gilligan, Director, Ignite Emporia)

Russell County Economic Development and CVB in partnership with the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and Russell Specialty Books and Gifts is hosting a Community Book Club featuring 13 Ways to Kill Your Community by Doug Griffiths. (Mike Parsons, Director)


The Delta Regional Authority will invest $2,783,204 to several western Kentucky communities for economic development. (Kemp Morgan, Interim Chief of Staff & Director of Project Development and Management)

South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council Executive Director Carter Hendricks appeared on WHOP Monday morning and says he’s excited about the Rural King development at the Bradford Square Mall.


The Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved incentives for redevelopment of the former prison site in Northville and Plymouth townships. (Jeremy Webb, the MEDC's senior business development project manager)

Much of the inspiration for past, current and future economic development in Montcalm County can be traced back to one man. Franz Mogdis was the founding father of modern economic development efforts in this county. Mogdis died on Feb. 17 at his Stanton home. He was 81 years old.


The University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality will be in Adams this Saturday, to facilitate the design of a community economic development plan for the Adams area. The event is facilitated by the southeastern Minnesota Extension representative, Jennifer Hawkins, who has worked at the Carlson School of Management’s Carlson Global Institute as the director of Strategic Initiatives and the Global Business Practicum program. Before that, she spent over seven years as a practitioner of economic development in roles at the regional and state levels in Minnesota


Economic trends and forecasts will be the primary focus of the 2022 Economic Outlook Forum, set for March 3 at The University of Southern Mississippi. The USM College of Business and Economic Development is coordinating the forum, which brings together experts from banking, finance and academia to explore a variety of issues and research related to the economic outlook for 2022. (Bret Becton, Dean of USM’s College of Business and Economic Development)


Some offices in the St. Louis Development Corp. and Community Development Administration needed to improve their record keeping and monitoring procedures, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway said in a report released Tuesday. The audit report found no major problems at SLDC and the St. Louis CDA, giving the offices an overall rating of “good,” the second-highest general rating from the state auditor’s office.


With changes to state law nixing a key part of its affordable housing strategy and an ever-intensifying market, Bozeman officials are planning to consider an overhaul of the city’s housing policies next week. (David Fine, the city’s economic development manager for housing and development)


The Nebraska Department of Economic Development held a two-day webinar via Zoom titled Learn International Nebraska. The two-day event involved representatives from different economic-based Nebraska companies and was hosted by Patrick Baker, an employee of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.


Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, attributes Reno's lower unemployment numbers compared to Las Vegas to a 10-year economic development and diversification effort within Washoe County that has linked a variety of business, community and political interests.

New Mexico

The City of Albuquerque is the newest member of the New Mexico Space Valley Coalition, a statewide team of public and private entities that have come together to rocket forward the commercial and federal space industry in New Mexico. The Coalition, comprising numerous members including Central New Mexico Community College, CNM Ingenuity, the New Mexico Trade Alliance, NewSpace New Mexico, NM Spaceport Authority, and now the City of Albuquerque, is a Phase 2 finalist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge after competing against 529 other applicants. (Spaceport America Executive Director Scott McLaughlin)

New York

Patty Hammond, Economic Development Coordinator at the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation wrote on the importance of shovel ready sites.

Mayor Eric Adams has appointed Lindsay Greene, most recently the chief strategy officer and executive vice president at the NYC Economic Development Corporation, as the new CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.

Cattaraugus County lawmakers adopted an Economic Development Strategic Plan designed to help the county take advantage of future opportunities. Crystal Abers, director of the Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism said the 180-page document is a blueprint for moving the county forward by looking at opportunities five and 10 years in the future.

North Dakota

As demand for unmanned aerial systems grows in northwest North Dakota, Williston Economic Development is looking for the right team to make those opportunities a reality. The department released a “request for proposal” last week, seeking a consultant to help them create a favorable environment for potential drone operators. Some of the tasks include determining the infrastructure and documentation required to bring a drone facility to the area and how to make it feasible. (Shawn Wenko, Williston Economic Development executive director)


Several of the city of Alliances's biggest public service organizations will receive Community Development Block Grant funds this year. City Council's Community Development Committee on Friday approved recommendations for the allocation of roughly $640,000 in CDBG funds to various Alliance-area projects, activities and service organizations. (Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe Mazzola)

Some existential questions were on the table during the most recent meeting of the Yellow Springs Development Corporation. Following a brief annual meeting, the group’s first since its beginning in early 2020, members discussed the YSDC’s place within the life of the village and township. (Greene County Director of Development Eric Henry)

The Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber has hired a director for its Mahoning Valley Logistics Council, a group that will work to bolster and expand the warehouse, distribution and related industries in the region. David Wilaj will oversee the creation of the council and its strategy, as well as all economic development projects related to the logistics industry.

Mayor Thomas Bernabei has hired Eugene Norris as the city's economic development director.  Norris, most recently the program director for the Stark County Minority Business Association, said he looks forward to finding new housing or economic development opportunities and assisting businesses interested in relocating to Canton.

Jonathan Holody, Sandusky community development director, explained that despite the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, the development climate in the city of Sandusky remains strong.

A $100,000 allocation that the Richland County commissioners made last June from the county contingency fund to Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development has paid off in new area jobs. Chamber officials said during a quarterly report Tuesday to the commissioners that economic development efforts in 2021 resulted in the creation of 133 new jobs with more than $5 million in committed payroll. Director of Economic Development Barrett Thomas told the board that there were 93 visits to unique companies and 30 responses to attraction opportunities last year.

Cliff Mears said Tuesday that Richland County residents are getting their money's worth in terms of economic development efforts. The county commissioner's comments came after a meeting with Jodie Perry, president and CEO of Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development and several members of her staff.


Economic Development for Central Oregon is pleased to announce Deanne Buck has joined its dedicated team in the position of Venture Catalyst Director, effective Feb. 28. In this role, Deanne will be responsible for helping entrepreneurship drive future job growth in Central Oregon by executing the plans and programs of EDCO’s “Start” initiative, which aims to mentor and advise scalable young companies from concept to exit on issues such as access to capital, critical expertise, and strategy.

Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill expanding access to capital for companies that are too new or too risky to qualify for conventional bank loans. Under the bill, Business Oregon would raise the cap on direct loans to startups through its Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund to $1 million, up from the current, temporary limit of $250,000. Business Oregon is the state’s economic development agency. (John Saris of Business Oregon)


Chester County Commissioners have appointed Dolores Colligan as Director of the County’s Department of Community Development. Colligan, a 32-year veteran of County government service, takes over from former Director, Patrick Bokovitz, who has transitioned to lead the County’s Department of Human Services.

South Carolina

It’s not often that an organization’s name succinctly and aptly describes the group’s structure and purpose, but OneSpartanburg's success in recent years seems to confirm the effectiveness of combining economic development and tourism promotion under one roof at the city and county level. “It positions our community well — the structure of this organization,” says OneSpartanburg president and CEO Allen Smith says. “People are looking to come to a place where they can be successful, where they can thrive.”


When Danielle Williams was getting her degree at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, her aim was to one day run a state park. However, the City of Victoria had different plans for her, and the once Parks & Recreation staff member is now the director of economic development for the entire city after working to help the downtown flourish.

The Montgomery Economic Development Corp. discussed the planning timeline for projects in the city’s downtown master plan during a Feb. 21 meeting, prioritizing drainage and utilities plans. Projects including the downtown master drainage plan and the downtown utility master plan need to be complete in one to three years, according to city officials.

Kilgore Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Lisa Denton says the pandemic continues to have “major effects” on business and industry, although she said the city is “catching the eye” of industry.

In December 2017, the City of Fort Worth’s Economic Development Department published the city’s first Economic Development Strategic Plan, developed with assistance from TIP Strategies Inc. Much has changed since Fort Worth's first Economic Development Strategic Plan was crafted in 2017. For starters, Fort Worth has grown from the 15th to the 13th largest city in the nation, according to the 2020 Census, with a booming population set to pass the 1 million mark by 2024. With this additional growth, as well as the economic disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Fort Worth turned once again to TIP Strategies last year to review and update the 2017 plan. The complete 2022 Economic Development Strategic Plan update is available online.

Fort Worth needs more money. Don’t worry, the city isn’t going broke, but city leaders have decided more needs to be done to encourage economic development. The city council authorized a strategic plan Tuesday that includes funding of an Economic Development Incentive Fund. Fort Worth Economic Development Director Robert Sturns called the authorization an important step forward in strengthening the city’s economic development efforts.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo traveled to the Lone Star state for an up-close look at EDA’s investments in South Texas. On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Castillo helped cut the ribbon on the new South Texas Ecotourism Center. The project itself demonstrates the impact of placed-based locally driven economic development and the importance of EDA’s impact in communities across the country.

Round Rock City Council approved an economic incentive agreement on Thursday, Feb. 24, with Emerson that will result in $9 million in new investment and at least 50 new jobs created. The Round Rock Transportation and Economic Development Corporation and the City Council approved a Chapter 380 agreement with the company, which has been located in Round Rock since 2011, at their respective regularly scheduled meetings Thursday evening. (Jordan Robinson, Interim President and CEO of the Round Rock Chamber)

An updated audit has found the city has yet to implement most of the recommendations made five years ago related to improving workforce development programs within the Economic Development Department and Austin Public Health. The 2022 audit, which was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of City Council’s Audit and Finance Committee, found that only two of the six recommendations that were supposed to be implemented by mid-2018 are in place. (Sylnovia Holt-Rabb)

Four local businesses were awarded a total of $399,000 from the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge, Thursday evening at the WT Enterprise Center. Established in 1996, the EnterPrize Challenge is funded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation that provides local businesses a chance to develop a plan to secure potential capital for investment. Companies to qualify must bring in 51% of their revenue from outside of the region. More than 100 businesses have received grants of up to $100,000 since the program's inception. (CEO Kevin Carter )

The Houston Business Journal spoke with Lance LaCour, former CEO of Katy Area Economic Development Council, and the new CEO of Partnership Lake Houston about his career move and about his vision for the Lake Houston area.

The City of Marshall’s Community and Economic Development Director Fabio Angell officially resigned from his position last week.

For the eighth year in a row, the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. has received an economic excellence award from a state entity. The Texas Economic Development Council awarded the PCDC with its Economic Excellence award for 2021. (PCDC Executive Director Amy Madison)


Seven Newport area entities received almost $1,500,000 in Newport Development Fund awards. Granted through two competitive programs, the Newport Development Grant and the Discover Newport Business Grant, the funds were designed to create transformational economic development opportunities in the City of Newport. Projects were selected based on alignment with existing city and regional plans or incentivizing businesses to expand or locate within the City of Newport, grow job opportunities, and attract visitors to the Newport area. The Newport Development Grant Program, a competitive grant with a minimum request of $50,000, was designed to assist impactful projects that align with existing city and regional plans. Increased consideration was given to properties and entities that demonstrated they were adversely impacted by the fraud surrounding local projects perpetrated by Ariel Quiros, Sr.


The City of Danville has been chosen to join an initiative led by the National League of Cities and commit to increase economic inclusion and resilience for communities of color, according to the city. As part of the Southern Cities Economic Inclusion initiative, Danville joins 15 other cities in the Southeast receiving up to $30,000 in grant funding and opportunities to learn from national experts and other cities.


A newly published report says that the economic impact of Washington state’s space industry has more than doubled in just four years — and lays out strategies for keeping the growth curve climbing. “Space is indeed the new frontier,” said Axel Strakeljahn, who’s president of the Port of Bremerton’s Board of Commissioners as well as chair of the Central Puget Sound Economic Development District Board. The report, released today by the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Washington State Space Coalition, estimates the overall economic impact of the region’s core space economy at $4.6 billion annually, supporting a little more than 13,000 jobs.

Western Washington University and the Port of Bellingham have decided to scrap the Western Crossing Development plan, which would have established the university as a key player in redeveloping the waterfront district.

The City of Richland is planning to buy both the Economy Inn, as well as the land that it's on. The Economic Development Manager, Mandy Wallner said this is in an effort to revamp the area.


The International Downtown Association announced recently that Haylee Chenchar, vice president and managing director of the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority, has been selected for the 2022 IDA Emerging Leader Fellowship Program. Chenchar is the first person to ever be selected from Wyoming as one of 30 urban place management professionals from around the world.

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The Econ Dev Show is a podcast, weekday email newsletter, and blog of actionable strategies, fresh news, insights, and ideas from the economic development community and your host, Dane Carlson.

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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. Also: Sitehunt CEO and economic development consultant in Greater Houston, Texas.

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